The United States will use all its military capabilities “including nuclear, conventional and missile defense” to protect its allies Japan and South Korea, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said today, warning North Korea against increasing its provocations. Associated Press.
Sherman said North Korea’s repeated ballistic missile and artillery launches in recent weeks were provocative acts of war. Pyongyang described its actions as training for the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
“This is profoundly irresponsible, dangerous, and destabilizing,” Sherman said during talks in Tokyo with South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun-dong. The two diplomats met ahead of tomorrow’s trilateral meeting with their Japanese counterpart. It will be the second face-to-face meeting between the three officials since conservative South Korean President Yoon Suk-you took office in May, signaling an improvement in the strained relationship between Japan and South Korea.
“We will use the full range of US defense capabilities to protect our allies, including nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities,” Sherman said.
During his talks with the US official, South Korea’s vice foreign minister expressed concern over North Korea’s new nuclear weapons policy adopted in September, which increases the possibility of indiscriminate use of nuclear weapons. “This is creating serious tension on the Korean Peninsula,” Cho said.
Earlier today, Sherman met with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori and reaffirmed the further strengthening of the Japan-US alliance, as well as other shared goals, including the complete denuclearization of North Korea and a joint response to increasing offensive actions of China in the region.
Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada recently said he believes Pyongyang has achieved a reduction in nuclear warheads while significantly improving its missile capabilities by diversifying its launch technologies, making them significantly more difficult to intercept.
Japanese and South Korean officials also met today and discussed ways to improve bilateral relations. they were severely strained because of disagreements stemming from Japanese actions during World War II, which included the abuse of Korean laborers and the forcing of girls and young women to work in brothels for Japanese soldiers.